Stuart Pentelow, programmer at d3t, tells us that when it comes to becoming a video game developer you can’t control luck, but you can improve your chances with hard work.
How did you break into games programming?
After living in a rural area for most of my childhood, I wanted to experience a different setting after I finished high school. This desire for a change saw me apply for a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Computer Games Development in Paisley, Scotland. Alongside this course, I also attended a night class in Higher Mathematics. The reason for this hectic load was that I wanted to attend my dream course at Abertay University.
Through a combination of hard work and dedication, I was thankfully able to attend Abertay University, where I spent a fantastic four years studying Computer Games Technology. Whilst there, not only did I make several lifelong friends, but one of these friends in fact told me about a game studio called d3t. After carrying out research, d3t seemed like a great fit, and what’s more they were also hiring for a programming role. After applying for the role, I was interviewed by the team, given a test to do, and can thankfully say that I passed both and got the job!
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
Without doubt my proudest achievement to date is the work that I have done at d3t to provide mentorship support to students at Abertay University. Each year a team of games developers across d3t take time out to help a third-year student team as part of the University’s DES310 module. This support sees us have a regular catchup session with the students every couple of weeks, to provide invaluable industry advice with the aim of helping them succeed with the project.
So far, the two projects that we have mentored have been nothing short of excellent. I am also incredibly proud that three of the students on these projects have landed themselves roles within the industry. This has really helped with my own self-confidence, knowing that I helped make a difference to these students and their careers.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
My biggest challenge to date is a personal one. In that I needed to learn to be kind to myself, particularly reframing from having negative thoughts and trying not to be my own worst enemy. What I have found especially helpful is having the understanding now that I can still be a person who makes the world better, even if I feel at times like I have let other people down.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are too many things to list about what I enjoy about my job. But if I had to narrow it down, it would be graphics programming, which I am doing on my current project, and I absolutely love it. I also love that d3t allows us to support students and make a difference to their careers.
What’s your biggest ambition in games?
My focus at present is to establish myself as a graphics programmer, as I have always been impressed by art created entirely through shaders. Moreover, I am eager to participate more in educational and the games mentorship space. Once I am in a better place in terms of my own skills and years in industry, I hope to contribute more to mentorship schemes.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in games?
You belong here and take every chance you can! You cannot truly control luck itself, but you can improve your chances by putting yourself out there more. For example, enter things like Search For A Star/Rising Star, as well as other games competitions. Also, don’t forget to make sure that you are applying to mentorship schemes like Limit Break and IG50 if you are eligible.